Economics ministry fears ruble devaluation in 2013-2014

The ruble has considerable potential for growth in 2011 despite capital outflow but the country may run a current account deficit in 2013-2014, which may lead to the national currency’s devaluation, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach said at an economic forum in France on Sunday.

“Following the Central Bank statements on widening the floating range of the ruble exchange rate and with our trade balance (the current account surplus is expected to exceed $100 billion in 2011), the ruble has major potential for growth,” Vedomosti daily quoted Klepach as saying.

Net capital outflow reached $35 billion in the first five months of the year, while high oil prices are contributing to capital flight amid an unfavorable investment climate, rather than to growth in investment, Klepach said.

The Central Bank’s and the Economics Ministry’s forecasts suggest that Russia’s balance of payments will run a deficit in 2013-2104, which is a major risk for the country, Klepach said.

A current account deficit is not necessarily a problem, as most countries compensate for a shortfall with capital inflow. Russia has an additional safety margin due to the availability of large international reserves totaling $500 billion, he said.

“However, on the two previous occasions, when we approached this boundary, this ended with the ruble’s devaluation,” he said.

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